5. The Fifth Dimension – A Split

One of the most intriguing aspects of there being one dimension stacked on another is that down here in the dimensions below we can be unaware of our motion in the dimensions above. Here’s a simple example: if we make a Möbius strip (take a long strip of paper, add one twist to it and tape the ends together) and draw a line down the length of it, our line will eventually be on both sides of the paper before it meets back with itself. It appears, somewhat amazingly, that the strip has only one side, so it must be a representation of a two-dimensional object. And this means that a two-dimensional Flatlander traveling down the line we just drew would end up back where they started without ever feeling like they had left the second dimension. In reality, they would be looping and twisting in the third dimension, even though to them it felt like they were traveling in a straight line.

The fourth dimension, time, feels like a straight line to us, moving from the past to the future. But that straight line in the fourth dimension is, like the Möbius strip, actually twisting and turning in the dimension above. So, the long undulating snake that is us at any particular moment will feel like it is moving in a straight line in time, the fourth dimension, but there will actually be, in the fifth dimension, a multitude of paths that we could branch to at any given moment. Those branches will be influenced by our own choice, chance, and the actions of others.

Quantum physics tells us that the subatomic particles that make up our world are collapsed from waves of probability simply by the act of observation. In the picture we are drawing for ourselves here, we can now start to see how each of us are collapsing the indeterminate wave of probable futures contained in the fifth dimension into the fourth dimensional line that we are experiencing as “time”.